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Comparative Effectiveness Of Catheter Ablation Devices In The Treatment Of Atrial Fibrillation: A Network Meta-analysis

Dhiraj Gupta, Tom De Potter, Tim Disher, Kiefer Eaton, Laura Goldstein, Leena Patel, Daniel Grima, Maria Velleca, Graça Costa

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Atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation is most commonly performed using radiofrequency (RF) and cryoballoon (CB) catheters. Ablation Index is a novel lesion-quality marker associated with improved outcomes in RF ablation. Due to lack of direct comparative evidence between the latest generations of technologies, there is uncertainty regarding the best treatment option. Aim: To conduct a network meta-analysis to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of RF with Ablation Index to other catheter ablation devices in the treatment of AF. Methods: Searches for randomized and nonrandomized prospective comparative studies of ablation catheters were conducted in multiple databases. The outcome of interest was 12-month freedom from atrial arrhythmias after a single ablation procedure. Studies were grouped as high-, low- and unclear-quality based on study design and balanced baseline patient characteristics. Bayesian hierarchical network meta-analysis was conducted and results presented as relative risk ratios with 95% credible intervals (CrIs). Results: 12 studies evaluating five different catheter ablation devices were included. Radiofrequency ablation with Ablation Index was associated with statistically significantly greater probability of 12-month freedom from atrial arrhythmias than Arctic Front (relative risk: 1.77; 95% CrI: 1.21–2.87), Arctic Front Advance™ (1.41; 1.06–2.47), THERMOCOOL™ (1.34; 1.17–1.48) and THERMOCOOL SMARTTOUCH™ (1.09; 1–1.3). Results were robust in multiple sensitivity analyses. Conclusion: Radiofrequency catheter with Ablation Index is superior to currently available options for 12-month freedom from atrial arrhythmias after AF ablation. This study provides decision-makers with robust, pooled, comparative evidence of the latest ablation technologies.